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Pay & Leave Pay Administration

Fact Sheet: Extended Assignment Incentives

Description

Agencies may pay an extended assignment incentive (EAI) to eligible Federal employees assigned to positions located in a territory or possession of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. An EAI is meant to assist agencies in retaining experienced, well-trained employees in these locations for a longer period than the employee's initial tour of duty.

Employee Coverage

An individual who meets the definition of "employee" in 5 U.S.C. 2105, including employees in General Schedule, senior-level and scientific or professional, Senior Executive Service, and prevailing rate positions, is eligible to receive an EAI, except for those employees excluded by 5 CFR 575.506.

Eligibility Requirements

The head of an Executive agency may provide an EAI to an employee if -

  1. The employee has completed at least 2 years of continuous service in one or more civil service positions located in a given territory or possession of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands;
  2. The agency determines that replacing the employee with another employee possessing the required qualifications and experience would be difficult; and
  3. The agency determines that it is in the best interest of the Government to encourage the employee to complete a specified additional period of employment with the agency in one of the covered locations.

Agency Plan

Before paying an EAI, an agency must establish a plan that designates the officials with authority to review and approve payment of an EAI. The plan must include the categories of employees which are prohibited from receiving an EAI, the criteria to be met or considered in authorizing an EAI, procedures for paying the incentives, requirements for service agreements, and documentation and recordkeeping requirements.

Service Agreement

Before an employee may receive an EAI, the employee must sign a written service agreement to complete a specified period of additional employment with the agency in one of the covered locations. In addition, the service agreement must specify the amount of the incentive payment, the method of paying the incentive, the conditions under which an agreement may be terminated, the requirements and procedures for the repayment of incentive payments if the employee separates prior to the completion of the service period, and any other terms and conditions for receiving and retaining EAI payments.

Service Limitation

By law, the total amount of service an employee may perform in a particular territory, possession, or commonwealth under one or more EAI service agreements with an agency may not exceed 5 years. To receive an EAI an employee must also have completed 2 years of continuous service immediately before commencement of a service agreement for an EAI.

Payment

An EAI may not exceed the greater of -

  1. 25 percent of the annual rate of basic pay of the employee at the beginning of the service period times the number of years in the service period; or
  2. $15,000 per year in the service period.

For example, assume an agency wishes to pay the maximum extended assignment incentive to an employee (GS-13, step 3) who signed an extended assignment incentive service agreement to serve 39 pay periods (546 days), and his or her annual rate of basic pay at the beginning of the service period is $65,335. To determine the maximum extended assignment incentive payment the agency may authorize, the following calculations must be made: (1) $65,335 (annual rate) x .25 (25%) x 1.5 years (546/365) = $24,501; and (2) $15,000 x 1.5 years = $22,500. Thus, the employee may receive extended assignment incentive payments of up to $24,501.

Basic Pay

For the purpose of computing an EAI, "rate of basic pay" means the rate of pay fixed by law or administrative action for the position held by an employee, including any applicable special rate under 5 CFR 530, subpart C, or locality-based comparability payment under 5 CFR part 531, subpart F, or similar payment or supplement under other legal authority, but before deductions and exclusive of additional pay of any kind.

An EAI is not considered part of an employee's rate of basic pay for any purpose.

Report to Congress

Agencies are required to record specific data and provide those data to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on the use of EAIs and to evaluate the extent to which these payments improve the retention of employees for longer than their initial tour of duty. The specific data requirements agencies must maintain are listed in 5 CFR 575.515.

Before February 15, 2006, each agency must submit a written report to OPM containing the specific data required on the use of EAIs for the period from May 2, 2003, to December 31, 2005. OPM will include this information in a report to Congress due no later than May 4, 2006, on agencies' use of EAIs.

Extended Assignment Incentives - 2006 Report to Congress

References

  • 5 U.S.C. 5757
  • 5 CFR 575 Subpart E

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